Depression-era black and white photo of big crowd waiting in a soup line.
House Republicans have a new excuse for not extending emergency unemployment insurance: A blog post from the Ways and Means Committee Republicans claims that the unemployment situation has gotten better since—and because—the jobless aid program expired at the end of December:
“What Happened Since Extended Unemployment Benefits Ended?” the post asks. “More Jobs and Less Long-Term Unemployment, for Starters.” [...]

Since benefits were cut off, employment is up 1.156 million, the labor force is up 1.29 million and the number of long-term unemployed is down from 3.878 million to 3.739 million, the post said.

Let's take that number of long-term unemployed, the people who lost their aid thanks to Republicans. The number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more in December was indeed 3.878 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In March it was indeed 3.739 million. But in November, before the program expired, the number was 4.044 million, which means that it was already dropping. Ish. There are also significant month-to-month variations, and while the March number of 3.739 million looks good when you compare it to December, consider that, in January, the BLS reported 3.646 million people unemployed for 27 weeks or more, and in February, 3.849 million.

So the number of long-term unemployed people dropped like a rock immediately upon the expiration of the unemployment insurance program (except it was already dropping) ... then rose back to about where it was the last month of the program ... then dropped again but not quite as low as it dropped the first month after the expiration.

Never mind correlation not being causation, the correlation Republicans are drawing doesn't even work.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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